The 150th anniversary of the decommissioning of Italian military strongholds forms an appropriate occasion for reflection on the significance and the future of military landscapes. The international conference, organized by the University of Cagliari (DICAAR), the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism (Polo Museale of Sardinia), the Istituto Italiano dei Castelli and the University of Edinburgh (ESALA), aims to share case studies, interdisciplinary scientific researches and institutional programs carried out on military landscapes with particular focus on their possible protection, conservation and cultural enhancement, also in the case of conversion, reuse or dual (civil and military) use.
How have military activities interacted with the landscape, and how can we recognise, interpret and protect the often discomforting memory of war, usurpation and violence by transforming it into more reassuring messages of security, commemoration, peace and progress?
The prospect of a new wave of decommissioning brings the challenges of converting this particularly vulnerable category of architecture and sites to the forefront of the debate. With this in mind, our interdisciplinary event will share case studies; investigate significant experiences of analysis of military landscapes; establish protocols for the conservation, surveillance and maintenance of heritage sites, and propose strategies for restoration and reconversion for civil uses (e.g. residential, social, cultural, productive, touristic), focusing particularly on examples inspired by aims of social integration, reconciliation and public use.
Sardinia, together with its archipelago of La Maddalena in the Mediterranean, constitutes a representative microcosm of the global concerns and challenges of military heritage. For this reason, this is also a symbolic and highly appropriate location in which to reflect on principles and guidelines for the protection of international military landscapes.